The center of attention on Thanksgiving Day is always the food. Sure, there are some families where a crazy uncle tries to steal the spotlight, but the real star of this holiday is the seemingly endless supply of turkey, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies and other goodies.
With so much great food, many of us think it’s impossible to stay healthy on this special day, but it’s not. Here are five tips to help you enjoy a healthier Thanksgiving and still eat plenty of delicious food. Now, that’s something to be thankful for!
- Lay off the skin – Even though turkey skin is tasty and hard to resist, eating even two ounces will tack an additional 220 calories onto your meal. By comparison, two ounces of mashed potatoes made with whole milk and butter total 70 calories. Two ounces of turkey breast are just 29 calories. So, before adding that turkey skin to your plate, ask yourself if it’s really worth the extra calories. If you’re still tempted, think about this. It takes roughly 50 minutes of raking leaves to burn off 220 calories.
Getting a child to exercise can be a real challenge for some parents, especially if their son or daughter doesn’t like sports, isn’t athletically gifted, or prefers watching TV or playing video games. Still, this is one battle that’s worth fighting, as reports a study earlier this year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. The study found that students who exercise regularly miss fewer classes, are less likely to engage in risky or antisocial behavior, concentrate more, and attain higher test scores.
In this tough economy, when many school districts are trimming their budgets by trimming gym classes, and with more children overweight than ever, finding creative ways to get your children up and about has never been more important.
Here are four simple steps to get your kids moving to something other than the couch, refrigerator or game chair:
The physical benefits of regular exercise are obvious. However, you’ll enjoy additional bonuses outside your dazzling annual physical exam.
Some of the lesser recognized benefits are just as important as the physical quality of your body, effective weight management and control, and cardiovascular development. Understanding some of these extra features should help motivate you to adopt a regular exercise program, however modest, that fits your lifestyle. Regular exercise—
- Brightens your personality. After a long day at work or facing other issues, your mood and naturally sunny personality can suffer. However, a gym visit or just a long walk will clear away the clouds and restore your positive personality.
- Minimizes stress. Whether your stress is from career, budget, or health issues, regular exercise reduces this condition, stimulating beneficial chemicals in your brain and relaxing your body.
Mention exercise to some people—particularly devoted couch potatoes—and you’ll receive looks of horror, disbelief, and the always dependable, “deer in the headlights.” Those to whom the thought of exercise conjures disturbing images of overweight or muscle-bound people, sweating profusely, and pumping heavy iron, need to take a deep breath and just calm down.
While you can certainly choose to spend your off-hours at a state-of-the-art gym working on your abs, arms, legs, etc., to create a sculptured body, it is not a necessity to feel healthier. You can even exercise with your baby or young child, implanting wonderful, healthy habits at their young age.
Types of Exercise
- Flexibility. Stretching and range of motion exercises help everyone and can be done daily without consuming large blocks of time or risking injury. If you have arthritis or worry about getting “long in the tooth,” stretching will help you loosen up those annoying stiff joints upon rising in the morning. Among the more effective flexibility exercises are yoga and tai chi, but just stretching your arms (biceps and triceps) and legs (quads, calves, and hamstrings) are wonderful to keep you healthy and trim.
When thinking of Valentine’s Day, we often think of a heart-shaped box containing sinfully delicious chocolate truffles, or chocolate filled with caramel, or other delectable. While it tastes good on the lips, it’s not good for the hips – even for children.
According to the Center for Disease Control, currently 16 percent of children are obese. Studies show that early weight problems can lead to diabetes and heart disease, even in childhood.
How do you show your children love this Valentine’s Day without pouring on the sugar?Consider these fast and healthy treats, many of which you can make with your children:
- Pink Heart Shake. Blend raspberries, strawberries, mangos, spring water and ice, along with stevia or a drop of honey to sweeten. Serve the shake in individual portions in decorated paper cups, and embellish each portion with cocktail umbrellas for a special touch.
- Fruit Kabobs with Yogurt Dip. Load red or pink plastic skewers with strawberries, cherries, watermelon and red seedless grapes. Use a tiny heart-shaped cookie cutter to shape the watermelon, to add to the festive look. Low-fat vanilla yogurt works well as a dip, and strawberry yogurt makes a perfect a Valentine’s Day theme.
- Chocolate Fondue with Fruit. Melt 1½ cups of semisweet chocolate chips in the microwave or in a double-boiler (use dark chocolate – it helps blood vessels relax, to lower blood pressure, and has heart-protective antioxidants). Add 3 tablespoons of sour cream and stir until smooth. Prepare fruity treats such as fresh strawberries, banana chunks, apple slices, orange slices, or fresh or canned pineapple. Using a fork, dip the fruit into warm chocolate and eat immediately, or dip and freeze for later (to freeze, place the fruit on wax paper on a cookie sheet).
This Valentine’s Day, keep the sugar at bay by mixing it up with treats that will keep your
children’s asking for more — and keep them “in the pink.”